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On January 20, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for the second time as president, beginning the second of four terms in the office. His first inauguration, in 1933, had been held in March, but the 20th Amendment, passed later that year, made January 20 the official inauguration date for all future presidents. (The Constitution had originally set March 4 as the presidential inauguration date to make sure election officials had enough time to process returns and allow the winner time to travel to the nation’s capital.)
Since 1933, Americans have witnessed, either through radio or television, the swearing-in ceremonies of more than 12 presidents. Some have been more memorable than others.
First inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt
The first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the 32nd President of the United States was held on Saturday, March 4, 1933, at the East Portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. This was the 37th inauguration, and marked the commencement of the first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President and John Nance Garner as Vice President.
It was also the last inauguration to be held on the constitutionally prescribed date of March 4, as the 20th Amendment, ratified earlier that year, moved Inauguration Day to January 20. As a result, Roosevelt's (and Garner's) first term in office was shorter than a normal term by 43 days. This was also the last time the vice president took the oath of office in the Senate chamber.
The inauguration took place in the wake of Democrat Roosevelt's landslide victory over Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election. With the nation at its peak of the Great Depression, Roosevelt's inaugural speech was awaited with great anticipation. Broadcast nationwide on several radio networks, the speech was heard by tens of millions of Americans, and set the stage for Roosevelt's urgent efforts to respond to the crisis. 
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes administered the presidential oath of office. Roosevelt wore a morning coat and striped trousers for the inauguration, and took the oath with his hand on his family Bible, open to I Corinthians 13. Published in 1686 in Dutch, it remains the oldest Bible ever used in an inaugural ceremony, as well as the only one not in English, and was originally used by Roosevelt for his 1929 and 1931 inaugurations as Governor of New York, and later his three subsequent presidential inaugurations until his death in 1945. 
FDR’s Four Historic Inaugurations
Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person who will ever have FOUR presidential inaugurations (thanks to the 22nd Amendment.) And each and every one of his inaugurations was historic in its own way. Every president from Washington to Roosevelt had been inaugurated in March. Why? Because the U.S. Constitution originally stipulated that the Federal Government would start on March 4 th each year. FDR’s first inauguration in 1933 was the last inauguration held in March. The inauguration date was changed with the passage of the 20 th Amendment, which moved the date up to January 20 th . During his first inauguration President Roosevelt delivered one of the most famous lines in American history – “The only thing we have to fear, is, fear itself.” But that line does not appear until the 7 th draft of the speech. You can find all of the drafts of the speech here.
FDR’s second inauguration in 1937 was historic because it was the first one held on January 20 th (again, thanks to the 20 th Amendment.) FDR’s 1936 victory was the largest landslide in American history, winning 523 electoral votes which equaled 98.49%! His inauguration was also the first time the vice president was inaugurated at the same time as the president. His second inaugural address is best known for his description of the victims of the brutal economic conditions of the Great Depression. “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.”
Roosevelt’s third inauguration in 1941 was historic because no one had ever been elected to a third term before, so it was the first, and will be the only, third inauguration. War had broken out in Europe when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939. London had been reduced to rubble by the German Blitz. Despite FDR’s best efforts the American people were still strongly isolationist. But FDR knew that America would eventually join the global conflict. His speech challenged Americans to live up to their ideals. “In the face of great perils never before encountered, our strong purpose is to protect and to perpetuate the integrity of democracy. For this we muster the spirit of America, and the faith of America. We do not retreat. We are not content to stand still. As Americans, we go forward, in the service of our country, by the will of God.”
Franklin Roosevelt’s fourth inauguration is historic for a number of reasons. No other person has or ever will be elected to a fourth term. The ceremony was held on the South Portico of the White House for the first time, allegedly because of the austerity created by the war. But FDR was a sick man and his declining health may have contributed to the change of location. FDR’s fourth inaugural address was perhaps the shortest ever given, just a little over five minutes long. But FDR’s spirit is clear. ”Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy. And so today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons, at a fearful cost, and we shall profit by them.”
This Day in History: Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated
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Today in History: Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated.
On March 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. In his famous inaugural address, delivered outside the east wing of the U.S. Capitol, Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal”—an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare—and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Although it was a rainy day in Washington, and gusts of rain blew over Roosevelt as he spoke, he delivered a speech that radiated optimism and competence, and a broad majority of Americans united behind their new president and his radical economic proposals to lead the nation out of the Great Depression.
Aided by a Democratic Congress, Roosevelt took prompt, decisive action, and most of his New Deal proposals, such as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, National Industrial Recovery Act, and creation of the Public Works Administration and Tennessee Valley Authority, were approved within his first 100 days in office. Although criticized by many in the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he easily won reelection.
During his second term, he became increasingly concerned with German and Japanese aggression and so began a long campaign to awaken America from its isolationist slumber. In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Roosevelt agreed to run for an unprecedented third term. Reelected by Americans who valued his strong leadership, he proved a highly effective commander in chief after the December 1941 U.S. entrance into the war. Under Roosevelt’s guidance, America became, in his own words, the “great arsenal of democracy” and succeeded in shifting the balance of power in World War II firmly in the Allies’ favor. In 1944, with the war not yet won, he was reelected to a fourth term.
Three months after his inauguration, while resting at his retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Following a solemn parade of his coffin through the streets of the nation’s capital, his body was buried in a family plot in Hyde Park. Millions of Americans mourned the death of the man who led the United States through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s unparalleled 13 years as president led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limited future presidents to a maximum of two consecutive elected terms in office.
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The "Sunshine Special"
President Franklin Roosevelt and his Scottish Terrier, Fala, enjoy a drive near Hyde Park, New York.
During Franklin Roosevelt’s twelve years as president, cars were a source of transportation, visibility, protection, and even amusement. When he contracted polio in 1921 at the age of 39, he had lost almost all use of his legs, meaning that he was no longer able to drive a car. 1 As a result, Roosevelt had his private automobiles outfitted with special hand controls that allowed him to drive without his legs. He owned a 1938 Ford Convertible Coupe and a 1936 Ford Phaeton for personal use at his home in Hyde Park, New York, or when he was visiting the “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia. 2 He loved to drive on back country roads with the top down on his convertibles.
Roosevelt made many additions to the White House fleet of automobiles during his time in office. Reportedly there were 25 cars in the fleet at the end of Herbert Hoover’s administration and this number increased during the Roosevelt administration. 3 Some of these cars were well known and widely photographed while others were not. It is known that during Roosevelt’s first term, a 1935 Packard seven-passenger vehicle was added to the White House fleet. After Roosevelt was inaugurated for his second term in 1937, the government accepted bids from the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Packard Motors for additional vehicles built to the high standards of the Secret Service. 4
As a result of these bids, a pair of 1938 V16 Cadillacs were leased from General Motors. These vehicles were semi-armored and weighed approximately 8,000 pounds. Although they were intended to carry President Roosevelt, he preferred to use the 1935 Packard probably because it was larger and allowed the disabled president more room to maneuver. 5 The Cadillacs were primarily used by the Secret Service and were nicknamed, “Queen Mary” and “Queen Elizabeth” after the luxury ocean liners. According to one 1950 Washington Evening Star article, the cars may have been named by Roosevelt himself after he compared riding in them to traveling on the Queen Mary. 6 In 1939 the White House leased a new seven-passenger limousine from Packard. However, the narrow doors on this vehicle made it difficult for Roosevelt to climb into the car. 7 Because these new cars were not very accessible for the president, a new vehicle was commissioned with his physical limitations specifically in mind.
President-elect Roosevelt exiting St. John's Church on the morning of his inauguration, March 4, 1933.
The result was Roosevelt’s most famous automobile—a 1939 Lincoln K series limousine leased from the Ford Motor Company and affectionately nicknamed, “Sunshine Special.” This vehicle was the first specifically designed and modified for use by the president. 8 It was built with wider rear doors for better maneuverability, forward-facing jump seats, step plates, handles for Secret Service agents, and even featured a police light and siren system. It was also a convertible, which allowed Roosevelt to remain visible to the crowds. This car quickly became Roosevelt’s favorite because it projected the formality of a presidential vehicle, permitted spectators to see their leader, and was quite comfortable. 9
Although it provided visibility, formality, and comfort, the “Sunshine Special” lacked security. When the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the Secret Service realized that all vehicles would require far greater protective measures and sought to acquire a vehicle that would provide this additional security. A rumor circulated about the car designated to replace the “Sunshine Special” while it was returned to the factory for modifications. A book written by Secret Service Agent Michael F. Reilly alleged a car with a “dubious reputation” was used to transport Roosevelt from the White House to the United States Capitol for the announcement of the declaration of war on December 8. 10 According to Reilly, the president used a car the Treasury Department had seized from legendary Chicago mob boss, Al Capone. It remains unclear why Reilly made these statements. There is no evidence to support this claim, although it has been widely reported and repeated over time. Photographs from December 8 depict Roosevelt riding in one of the semi-armored 1938 Cadillacs, which dispels the fascinating yet spurious story.
President Herbert Hoover and President-elect Franklin Roosevelt prepare to leave the White House for the Capitol on March 4, 1933.
When the “Sunshine Special” came back from the factory after its overhaul and upgrade, it boasted a number of new features. It was equipped with bulletproof glass, steel armor, a gun case, a radio system, and special rear bumpers as a place for the Secret Service to stand. The government also commissioned a brand-new armored 1942 Lincoln H-series limousine and retrofitted the rest of the existing cars in the fleet with armor and bulletproof glass. 11 At this point the “Sunshine Special” and its counterparts were fully equipped to provide the comfort, visibility, and security Roosevelt required during the war. He continued to use these vehicles throughout the remainder of his presidency. The Special and the Queens also conveyed President Harry Truman until 1950 when they were retired from service. 12 The “Sunshine Special” was shipped to Dearborn, Michigan to be housed in The Edison Institute, later renamed The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. 13 Today it is on display at The Henry Ford Museum, along with a number of other presidential vehicles.
This black and white photograph shows President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arriving at the Lincoln Memorial for a February 1943 ceremony celebrating Lincoln's birthday.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum/NARA
No matter what the occasion, official or recreational, President Franklin Roosevelt always had a top-of the-line vehicle at his disposal. His presidential fleet was specially designed for his comfort and security and his personal cars were outfitted for drives through the backroads of Georgia or for a ride with his dog, Fala, in Hyde Park. For a man that traveled around the world, having reliable transportation was essential.
This is President Franklin Roosevelt's 1939 Lincoln K limousine that he nicknamed "The Sunshine Special." Roosevelt called it so because of its convertible top, which he liked to put down so he could enjoy the sun.
FDR's Second Inaugural Address
Well, the document that I have here in front of me is a copy of Franklin Roosevelt’s second inaugural address—delivered in January 1937 and it happens to be the first presidential inauguration that took place in January. Since George Washington’s time down to the '30s inaugurations happened in March and that was changed to January, so that’s a kind of historical factoid that gives this a little bit of interest. But this document, as much as any single document can, reminds us of what the New Deal was all about, what its relationship to the Great Depression of the 1930s was, and what its implications were for this society going forward. And I think as much as any single document can reveal, it shows us what Franklin Roosevelt’s deepest intentions were, what his highest priorities were, what his agenda was in the period of the 1930s.
So this is 1937. He’d come to power—come to the presidency three years earlier in 1933, when the unemployment rate was 25%—the most god-awful economic crisis that ever struck this society. Here he is being re-inaugurated for a second term four years later. Quite obviously and not surprisingly, as any president would do under the circumstances, he's bragging a bit about the things he accomplished during his first term drawing the contrast between how bad things were when he took office and how much better they are now. He goes through a little bit of a list of the specific things that are better: unemployment is down and gross national product is up and so on and so forth. Then he says, kind of summarily, he said, “Our progress out of the Depression is obvious.” That’s the kind of summary statement of what he’s talking about. And he says again, further on the same note, he says, “We have come far from the days of stagnation and despair.”
Now so far this is standard presidential boilerplate on any situation, who wouldn’t—under the circumstances—pat himself on the back for the things he’s accomplished in the preceding four years. But then he says something absolutely extraordinary in the annals of presidential addresses, especially inaugural addresses. It’s a sentence that when I first read it just leapt off the page at me for its surprising quality and for its explanatory quality. After having just gone through this little recital of how things are better now than they were, he says, “Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster.” Now wait a minute, what’s he saying? Prosperity’s returning, we’re better off, the Depression is lifting, we’re going ahead on a much more confident basis than we were but this—these “symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster.” The sentence doesn’t explain itself, you really have to know what the context was and know something about Roosevelt’s ultimate intentions, and ultimately the consequences of what he tried to accomplish and did accomplish in the 1930s.
That single sentence—"such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster"—is such a shock and such a surprise. If you read it all carefully you realize, why would he say that at the moment of his own greatest self-congratulation upon being reelected/reinaugurated? So I think if you can get students to focus on that sentence: Why would a president in that moment in that particular circumstance say such a thing? What could be on his mind that he would so apparently undercut his own agenda on this occasion? I think what explains it—where the answer lies is in that immediately subsequent passage about the third of the nation. So there’s a way to connect something that’s quite surprising about "prosperity is a portent of disaster" with something that is maybe a little bit familiar, which is the "I see one third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished." So you can put those two together and I think it’s a very effective teaching combination.
When I teach this document, I usually asking the class—before I’ve asked them to read the whole document—I ask them if they’ve heard the phrase “I see one third of the nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.” As time goes by, I suppose, fewer students have ever heard it at all, but most of them usually have had—it’s got some echo in their brains someplace, they’ve heard it or a version of it someplace or other.
So then I explain this is a speech that Roosevelt gave in the midst of the Great Depression, what do you think he was talking about? Again, not without reason, most students will say, “Well, he’s talking about all those people who are unemployed and having such hard times during the Depression.” And I say, “Well, fair enough, but now let's read the rest of the speech and see what he’s really talking about.” Then when they hit that sentence, if I give them the space and if I tee them up properly, that when they get to that sentence—“Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster”—that does bring them up short. They say, “Wait, what’s he talking about here? How could any president undercut his own self-congratulation for the return of prosperity?” I make the point that what follows this is this lyrical litany about the one third of the nation, and that’s his real objective. This goes to a deeper point, it seems to me, and it goes to the point of putting to rest that idea that the New Deal was just whatever Roosevelt threw at the wall, whatever stuck became the New Deal.
I believe, and I think this document goes along way to making the case, that Roosevelt had a vision, and it’s proper to call him a visionary. In fact, in my reading of the evidence he had this vision before the Depression ever happened. You can see this in his private correspondence in the 1920s [and] in his prior political career, that the major thing he wanted to accomplish if he ever got the chance was to make American society more secure, less risky, and more inclusive. To bring more people into the mainstream of American life and to reduce elements of risk that perpetually over the previous century had brought people into the mainstream and then ejected them from it again. Life was unstable for so many people, for millions of people. That’s what he wanted to change, and the New Deal put in place a series of structural reforms that accomplished a lot of that objective.
[The New Deal put in place a series of structural reforms that accomplished a lot of that objective.] The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—which gave federal guarantees to bank deposits—at a stroke ended the century-old or more practice of panicked runs on banks when times got tough. Banks failed—between 1931 and 1933, over 5,000 banks failed in this country. Between 1933 and the end of the 20th century, probably fewer than 500 banks failed, I don’t know the exact number but in that order of magnitude. Why? Because the FDIC imparted a measure of stability, predictability, risk reduction to banking. Glass-Steagall Act, which is actually where the FDIC legislation is embedded as well, separated investment from commercial banking. It made the day-to-day operations that the average citizen dealt with a different beast from the big investment banking houses like Goldman Sachs and Lehmans Brothers and so on and so on. Which for a long time, until the opening years of the 20th [21st] century, protected the core banking system from the speculative and risky activities that go on in the investment banking business.
The Home-Owners Loan Corporation, which became the Federal Housing Authority, created a system of private insurance overseen by the federal government that stabilized mortgage lending and made that a lot less risky. Its that structural reform which actually built suburbia and built the Sun Belt in the decades after World War II because mortgage money was so much more available than it had been earlier. It [also] changed the terms on which people could buy homes—it changed them drastically. So we went from a society in which only about 40% of citizens owned their own homes as the Great Depression opened, to a society in which about 60% of Americans owned their own homes by 1960. So it didn’t take, it took about a generation for this to work its effects.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is another New Deal era reform that brought a measure of transparency and open information/accessible information into stock market trading. Again, that did a lot to dampen—not eliminate entirely—but to dampen a lot of the speculative fevers that had driven Wall Street up and down and sidewise over the preceding century. So its no accident, it’s absolutely no accident, that in the 70 years or so after the New Deal this society saw no economic crisis even remotely approaching the scale, volatility, and explosive character of the Great Depression of the '30s.
The Great Depression of the '30s is a unique event, and it’s a singular event in its severity, but it’s in a family of events that go back into the 1830s there’s centuries worth of these kinds of severe economic shocks to the system. The New Deal put a very substantial end to that for the remainder of the 20th century at least. That was not an accident, that was part of a conscious design on Roosevelt’s part to remake the society, bring new institutions into being, reduce risk, bring elements of security into the lives of millions of citizens and institutions and economic sectors like banking, investing, and so on. That didn’t just happen it was part of a conscious political program. And it seems to me this speech, this second inaugural address, is about as succinct and pointed a piece of documentary evidence that you can find that makes that case.
All of these things were part of a very coherent, unified program to make life less risky. It was—it became less risky for millions upon millions of people in the two or three generations following the 1930s. So we see here a glimpse, you might say, into Roosevelt’s deepest ideological agenda when he tells us prosperity might be a portent of disaster because his reform agenda is not yet accomplished.
Franklin D. Roosevelt / Franklin D. Roosevelt - Key Events
Roosevelt is inaugurated as the thirty-second President of the United States. He also appoints Francis Perkins as secretary of labor, making her the first woman hold a cabinet post.
Roosevelt declares a four-day “bank holiday” in order to stop the panic “run” on the nation's banks. He also summons Congress to a special session on March 9.
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt holds the first First Lady press conference where only female reporters are invited to attend.
Congress meets beginning what is later known as Roosevelt's “Hundred Days.” During this period, Congress enacts many of the principal programs of FDR's “New Deal.” It passes the Emergency Banking Act on March 9, allowing banks to reopen as soon as they can prove they are solvent within three days, more than 1,000 banks will reopen, helping to raise the nation's confidence almost overnight.
FDR delivers his first “fireside chat” radio address to the nation.
Congress passes the Reforestation Relief Act, which provides for the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC offers immediate work to some 250,000 young men (ages 18-25) through a national reforestation program by its conclusion in 1941, it will have employed more than 2 million young men.
FDR, by presidential proclamation, takes the United States off the gold standard. While the value of the dollar declines internationally, the policy also allows more money to become available to Americans, stimulating the economy.
With unemployment hovering at around 14 million, Congress passes the Federal Emergency Relief Act (FERA). It provides immediate grants to states for relief project, unlike Hoover's earlier proposals, which only provided loans. The legislature also passes the Agricultural Adjustment Act, establishing the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which restricts the production of certain crops and pays farmers not to till their land. Roosevelt hopes that the AAA will reduce agricultural production, raise prices, and aid suffering farmers.
Congress passes the Tennessee Valley Act, establishing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), to control flooding in the Tennessee River Valley and provide for rural electrification in the seven states comprising the region. The goal is to raise the social and economic standards of the residents of this relatively remote section of the country critics view the TVA as dangerously socialistic, while admirers will view it as one of the nation's most successful social projects.
Congress passes the Federal Securities Act, requiring all issues of stocks and bonds to be registered and approved by the federal government.
On this, the final day of FDR's “Hundred Days,” Congress passes a number of bills. The most important of these is the National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA), the centerpiece of Roosevelt's efforts to revive American industry. It establishes two of the early key agencies of the New Deal: the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the National Recovery Administration (NRA). The PWA focuses on providing jobs through the construction of roads, public buildings, and other projects, while the NRA's goal is to stimulate competition to aid both consumers and producers. In addition to the NIRA, Congress passes the Banking Act of 1933, which establishes the Federal Bank Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Farm Credit Act.
The London Economic Conference meets to discuss the international depression, but accomplishes little, mainly because the United States disagrees with most other nations on the correct course of action. Most countries stress the need for currency stabilization, while the United States focuses on stimulating trade.
FDR establishes the National Labor Board, with Senator Robert Wagner of New York as its head. The NLB is created to enforce the right of organized labor to bargain collectively. Its existence marks a sharp change in the federal government's stance toward labor.
The American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products to protest the Nazi party's antagonism towards organized labor in Germany. The next day, Germany withdraws from the Disarmament Conference in Geneva and announces that it will terminate membership in the League of Nations in two years' time.
FDR, by executive order, establishes the Civil Works Administration. Headed by Harry Hopkins, the CWA hopes to provide work for 4 million unemployed Americans.
After meeting with Soviet commissar for foreign affairs Maxim Litvinov at the White House, Roosevelt announces that the United States will establish diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R.
Utah becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Twenty-First Amendment, officially ending the “noble experiment” of prohibition in the United States.
Federal Judge John M. Woolsey lifts the ban on James Joyce's Ulysses, a major decision against the censorship of books.
Congress passes the Gold Reserve Act, allowing the President to fix the value of the U.S. dollar at between 50 to 60 cents in terms of gold. The next day, FDR signs the Farm Mortgage Refinancing Act, establishing the Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation, designed to help farmers pay their mortgages by granting them easier terms of credit. Both efforts illustrate the federal government's increasing control over the nation's currency.
By executive order, FDR establishes the Export-Import Bank to encourage commerce between the United States and foreign nations, especially Latin America.
In a show of confidence in the nation's economic recovery, Henry Ford restores his $5 per day minimum wage to 47,000 of his 70,000 workers.
Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act, guaranteeing Philippine independence ten years after the Philippine legislature meets the terms of the act. Independence does not come formally until July 4, 1946.
The Senate establishes a committee to investigate the extent to which manufacturers of munitions influenced and profited from U.S. involvement in the Great War. Known as the Nye Hearings, for committee chairman Gerald Nye of North Dakota, the findings reinforce the isolationist-neutralist beliefs of many Americans who view international war as profiting only the business elite.
FDR signs the Home Owners Loan Act, a bill designed to promote home construction.
A severe dust storm hits the central and southern plains, blowing an estimated 300,000,000 tons of topsoil from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Colorado as far east as the Atlantic Ocean. It is only one of a number of such storms ravaging a region which becomes known as “the Dust Bowl.” In large part, the conditions are due to the improper plowing and farming practices used to squeeze yields and profits out of the land during the Depression. Many inhabitants, some of whom are known as “Okies” and “Arkies,” pack up their belongings and move to California.
The United States and Cuba sign a treaty releasing Cuba from the Platt Amendment, which had made Cuba a U.S. protectorate following the Spanish-American War in 1903.
FDR signs the Securities Exchange Act, creating the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), which will license stock exchanges and determine the legality of certain speculative market practices. The following day, Congress will pass the Corporate Bankruptcy Act, allowing corporations facing bankruptcy to reorganize if two-thirds of its creditors agree. Efforts at both prevention and prescription, the bills address some of the factors which led to the severity of the Great Depression.
Congress passes the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act, allowing the President to cut tariffs by as much as 50 percent--without the consent of the Senate--for those nations granting the U.S. most-favored-nation trading status.
Congress passes the Communications Act, creating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate radio, telegraph, and telephone communications. The FCC replaces the much narrower focused Federal Radio Commission, established in 1927 under Coolidge.
In his continued efforts to rejuvenate the economy, FDR signs two bills into law. The Federal Farm Bankruptcy Act places a moratorium on all farm mortgage foreclosures the National Housing Act creates the Federal Housing Administration, designed to further stimulate homebuilding.
Organized labor calls for a “general strike”--the first ever in U.S. history--after 12,000 members of the International Longshoremen's Association have already walked out in San Francisco. Numerous strikes will occur across the nation during the summer.
John Dillinger, listed as “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI, is shot and killed by federal agents outside a Chicago theater.
In midterm elections, the Democrats gain spots in both the House and the Senate, picking up nine seats in each body. The gains serve as a public endorsement of FDR's New Deal programs.
Japan denounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930 it will declare its complete withdrawal from each by December 1936.
In his third State of the Union Address, FDR effectively announces the beginning of a second stage of his New Deal. This new phase will focus on long-term gains such as a system of social security--for the aged, the unemployed, the ill--and for improved housing and tax reform. In general, Roosevelt seeks to move away from purely relief programs toward more sustained measures for the nation's most vulnerable citizens.
Continuing to shun formal involvement in international organizations, the Senate rejects American participation in the World Court by a vote of 52 to 36.
Congress passes the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The bill authorizes nearly $5 billion to establish federal programs in line with FDR's goals. The first of these, the Resettlement Administration (RA), will be created less than a month later and will help rural, and some urban, families relocate to more productive regions of the country.
Congress establishes the Soil Conservation Service within the Department of Agriculture to promote better use of farmlands and to prevent a recurrence of the “Dust Bowl” of the previous spring.
With funds from the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, FDR issues an executive order establishing the Works Progress Administration (WPA) the new agency falls under the direction of Harry Hopkins, ex-head of the CWA. Perhaps the best known and most successful of Roosevelt's New Deal programs, the WPA provides work and income for millions of Americans through the construction and repair of roads, bridges, public schools, post offices, parks and airfields. The WPA will also establish projects to employ artists and scholars. Critics view it as the symbol of federal waste and inefficiency under the Roosevelt administration.
Continuing the new phase of programs, FDR establishes the Rural Electrification Administration to provide loans for the construction of power plants and lines to those regions that private companies deemed unprofitable. Public utilities will come under federal regulation following the passage of the Public Utilities Act in August.
The Supreme Court rules in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States that the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 is unconstitutional. The decision is an obvious setback for FDR and his New Deal programs. The National Recovery Administration, established under the NIRA, will be officially terminated at the end of the year.
In a major victory for organized labor, Roosevelt signs the National Labor Relations Act, creating the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB ensures the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively.
FDR signs the Social Security Act, which establishes the Social Security Board (SSB), one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation in the country's history. The act guarantees pensions to Americans over the age of 65, establishes a system of unemployment insurance, and assists states in aiding dependent children, the blind, and the aged who do not already qualify for Social Security.
Roosevelt Signs Social Security Act
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which established a Social Security Board to coordinate the payment of old-age benefits to Americans over the age of 65.
After the crash of the stock market in 1929, the United States sunk into the Great Depression. With high rates of poverty among the elderly, many people felt the government needed to do something to protect its citizens. In June 1934, President Roosevelt had created the Commission on Economic Security, which studied economic security, social insurance, and long-term relief programs. It then proposed a social security program that could help people who were retired, disabled, widowed, or unemployed. Its recommendations were to serve as the basis for legislation to be considered by Congress. The Commission formally presented its recommendations to the President in January 1935.
The act that Roosevelt signed included programs such as Old Age Assistance (Title I), Old Age Insurance (Title II), Unemployment Insurance (Title III), Aid to Dependent Children (Title IV), Grants for Maternal and Child Welfare (Title V) and Aid to the Blind (Title X). Taken together, these programs represented a significant commitment to developing a welfare state in the United States. Subsequent amendments to the original act added many benefits, including survivor benefits if a covered worker died prematurely, disability coverage and medical benefits.
The Social Security Act financed its programs through deductions from workers' paychecks, which actually stunted economic growth by muting consumer purchasing power. Moreover, the programs and benefits of the Social Security Act were not distributed evenly among all Americans. Agricultural workers (who were likely to be African Americans or Mexican Americans of both sexes) and domestic servants (often African American women) were not eligible for old-age insurance. Likewise, farm laborers were ineligible for unemployment insurance. And since state governments administered many of the Social Security programs, the size of benefits varied widely, especially between the North and the South. Still the act that Roosevelt signed in 1935 created a basis of social insurance that still exists to this day.
Second Inauguration of Ronald Reagan (FDR's Two Term Presidency)
States Capitol in Washington, DC after defeating Democratic Nominee Walter Mondale in the 1989 Presidential Election. . The inauguration marked the commencement of the second term of Ronald Reagan as President and of George H. W. Bush as Vice President. Reagan would also be the first President since John F. Kennedy to serve a second term in office. Chief Justice Rehnquist administered his first presidential oath of office to President Reagan, and administered the vice presidential oath to Vice-President Bush. 4 of the remaining 5 former Presidents (J. Kennedy, R. Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter) attended Kennedy's Inauguration along with their Vice-Presidents (McCarthy, Agnew, and Mondale). Unforently, President Wallace would not attend the inauguration as he would be the hospital to recover from a recent fall he suffered while at his residence in Danbury, Connecticut. He would be released from the hospital a little over a month later in February, but he would unforently pass away on July 18, 1989. President Reagan would give a speech honoring deceased President Wallace announcing his funeral to be on September 2, 1989, the 44 year anniversary of when President Wallace ended and secured victory for America in WW2.
Second Inauguration of George W. Bush (FDR's Two Term Presidency)
The Second inauguration of John F. Kennedy as the 42nd President of the United States was held on Thursday, January 20, 1973, at the east portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second term of George W. Bush as President and of Dick Cheney as Vice President. Chief Justice William Rehnquist administered the presidential oath of office to Bush, and administered the vice presidential oath to Cheney. All 4 former Presidents (J. Kennedy, R. Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, and H. W. Bush) attended Kennedy's Inauguration along with the 4 remaining Vice-Presidents (Agnew, McCarthy, Mondale, and Quayle). Unforently, Vice-Presidents McCarthy and Agnew would not live to see the end of Bush's Presidency as McCarthy would pass away in December 2005 and Agnew would pass away in September 2006. Agnew would be honored with a state funeral in November 2007 (age 89) as per President Nixon request that was approved in July 2003, and McCarthy would be honored with a state funeral in March 2006 (age 90) as per President R. Kennedy's request that was approved by President Bush in October 2005.
FDR had a secret as he sought a fourth term in 1944: He was dying
In the spring of 1944, a few months before D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s limousine arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital — the same medical complex President Trump was taken to Friday after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Unable to walk from polio, FDR was lifted from the limo and placed in his wheelchair.
“He immediately put up a happy front, playfully waving and wisecracking as he was wheeled into the hospital and down the dimly lit corridor past the swelling crowd that had assembled to see the leader of the Allied armies,” wrote historian Jay Winik in “1944: FDR and the Year that Changed History.”
But everything was not okay.
Roosevelt, then 62, had been declining for months. His hands trembled. He was fatigued to the point of passing out, one time falling completely out of his wheelchair. As his closest aides tried to keep his decline a secret, blaming his ill health on residual symptoms from the flu, his family demanded he be taken to specialists.
At the naval hospital, now called Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, cardiologist Howard Bruenn examined him.
“Listening to Roosevelt’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope increased Bruenn’s sense of alarm: as Roosevelt inhaled and exhaled, Bruenn heard rales, telltale rattling or bubbling sounds indicating that fluid was building up inside the president’s lungs,” Winik wrote. “Roosevelt was literally starting the slow process of drowning from within.”
The diagnosis: congestive heart failure. Roosevelt, about to embark on a reelection campaign for a fourth term in office, probably had a year to live, the doctor said. The president, a Democrat, decided to run anyway — and to do everything he could to put a healthy face on a dying one.
“The war was almost over,” wrote historian Jared Cohen in “Accidental Presidents: Eight Men who Changed America.” “The post-war world would need the right guiding hand. And Roosevelt believed he was essential for both. He believed he could persevere. It’s not quite denial, but rather charging forward through a systematic distortion aimed at generating strength.”
Adlai E. Stevenson II and John Sparkman were inaugurated as the 33rd President and 34th Vice President of the United States of America on January 20th 1949 surrounded by four Secret Service agents, two for both Stevenson and Sparkman.
Former Presidents Herbert Hoover, Charles Adams, and Wallace. Just like Wallace, Earl Warren and Strom Thurmond, Stevenson's opponents in the general election, were also in attendance and the former was seen laughing and joking with Stevenson before the ceremony.
Before Stevenson and Sparkman were to be inaugurated, they would both be given a gift from President Wallace. Stevenson would receive a framed flag for the President of the United States, signed by President Wallace all the way back to President Abraham Lincoln. He told Stevenson that "it was a tradition of the President to receive a framed Presidential Flag signed by the previous Presidents, and that when the flag got updated in 1898, 1902, 1912, 1916, and in 1945, President(s) McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, and Wallace replaced the flag with the updated flag, and got to keep the previous flag. The original 1882 Flag used by President Arthur went to Roosevelt after McKinley's death in 1901.
Sparkman would receive mostly the same gift from Vice-President Truman. Sparkman would receive a framed flag of the Vice-President of the United States, signed by Vice-President Truman all the way back to Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin. He told Sparkman that "Just like the President, it was a tradition of the Vice=President to receive a framed Vice-Presidential Flag signed by the previous Vice-Presidents, and that when the flag got updated in 1915 and in 1938, Vice-Presidents Thomas R. Marshall and Thomas E. Dewey replaced the flag with the updated flag, and got to keep the previous flag. But unlike the Presidential Flag which was updated in 1945, the Vice-Presidential Flag got updated in January 1948 and Vice-President Truman helped Vice-President-Elect John Sparkman replace the flag and transferred ownership of the 1938 flag to Sparkman.
Stevenson, Sparkman, and the remaining Presidents and Vice-Presidents agreed that the history of the passing of the Signed Presidential/Vice-Presidential Flag could not remain a secret forever and agreed that on the Bicentennial of the United States in July 1976 would reveal it to the American Public and if nobody who was involved with the conversation was alive as of July 4th 1976, the President at the time would reveal it to the public. Only two people of the conversation would still be alive on July 4th 1976 and it would be former Vice-Presidents Truman and Sparkman, and they would reveal the flag passing to the American Public in a live speech along with President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Robert F. Kennedy.
The American Public and Congress would be okay with the secretary of the flag passing and would let it slide under one condition, that it would now be a part of Inauguration Day and would show the former President passing the flag to the President-Elect along with the former Vice-President passing it to the Vice-President-Elect. This would first take effect with the inauguration of President Reagan and Vice-President George H. W. Bush receiving the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Flag from former President Jimmy Carter and former Vice-President Walter Mondale on January 20th, 1985. During the Presidential Saga of 2019-2021, the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Saga would remain in the White House Tour for the American People to see under the orders of President Romney. The flags are now in the possession of Incumbent President Fred Rogers and Incumbent Vice-President Alex Trebek. The previous flags ranging from 1892-1944 were donated to be toured across the country from February 2021 - January 2025 and would be brought to D.C for the next Inauguration on January 20, 2025.
Members of Wallace's administration, many of whom were holdovers from President FDR and Wallace's, were confirmed on January 29th.